Lucie Rybičková Javorská

Businesses have relied on the cloud to drive innovation for nearly two decades, with public cloud being hailed as the transformative force empowering companies to unlock new opportunities via global infrastructures, scalability and software-defined solutions. But with the technology evolving at breakneck speed and as consumption patterns change, evaluating your cloud strategy is essential to future-proof your business as market conditions shift. 

Just like how we check in on our business goals to gauge progress, it is equally important to regularly review our cloud strategy. If you’re embarking on a cloud reassessment journey, here are considerations you should keep in mind:

Configuring for improved performance 

Cloud infrastructure is not static and requires regular finetuning to keep applications running and to prevent outages. Determining where and how the workload runs is crucial in this step. Typically, workloads considered to be more demanding may struggle in the public cloud, while others may need to rely on high-performance networks to work well. Applications that rely on low latency or are unsuitable for distributed computing infrastructures are often best suited for on-prem environments. 

These are general guidance on how best to distribute your workload for enhanced performance. A deeper assessment can help pinpoint other existing performance bottlenecks, such as overutilised resources or inefficient configurations. 

How emerging technologies will influence cloud workload

Technologies, along with business’s needs, are constantly evolving and cloud providers are striving to keep pace. New technologies like serverless computing, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) bring with them opportunities for business efficiencies and performance improvements. But integrating these into the mix introduces unique sets of requirements, which can have varying demands on cloud workloads. 

Managing spiraling costs 

Cloud computing remains a key part of the IT modernisation strategy. But the cost of cloud services is no longer falling at the rate that it was years ago, where hyperscalers operated on margins below on-prem services. Major cloud service providers including IBM Cloud, Salesforce and ServiceNow for instance, have announced price hikes to reflect this trend. The emergence of new technologies (mentioned above) has also added complexities to cloud pricing, with the costs of running these models often passed onto end users and customers at a premium.

Given the potential of cloud spending to spiral if left unchecked, cost optimisation is fundamental to cloud management. Regular reviews of cloud costs can help identify savings opportunities, and some workloads can stand to benefit from reevaluating infrastructure needs.

Data privacy and compliance

Cost and performance considerations aside, a business may choose to maintain certain workloads on-prem due to stringent data privacy and compliance requirements. End users typically lack visibility into the underlying hardware and the infrastructure hosting these workloads and data. This poses clear challenges for businesses obligated to meet data security and other regulatory requirements, such as clear auditing or data residency proof.

This would be especially prevalent in industries such as healthcare or finance, where handling sensitive customer data is subject to strict regulatory mandates. Therefore, compliance with regulations such as GDPR, PCI DSS, and SOC 2 is essential for protecting sensitive data, and frequent reviews are required to ensure cloud deployments are still compliant overtime.

So, should you move back on-prem? 

In assessing options, businesses may find themselves considering the option of moving back certain workloads or resources on-prem. 

On the upside, operating on-prem gives businesses full infrastructural control and access to all log files, the ability to troubleshoot, correct and audit all activity within the data centre. This level of control lets businesses take proactive steps to protect the environment and address issues promptly, which would be perfect in an ideal world. 

But this decision would still warrant careful consideration given the scale of the reverse migration, and implications across the business. In the same vein, we also understand business’ concerns around the cloud providers’ ability to meet specific uptime and resilience expectations, which can have severe repercussions in the event of, say, an outage.

Meeting in the middle with multi or hybrid cloud strategies

Each operational approach comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. And with that in mind, keeping workloads distributed across multiple cloud providers and environments may still be the best way forward, for now. Organisations have for years embraced a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy, leveraging the strengths of different environments to flexibly run workloads and manage data where it makes the most sense for them. 

At the end of the day, it is not about favouring one environment over the other, but rather rationalising your usage, and continuously refining your consumption. It is about deploying each workload responsibly, with return on investment (ROI) in mind, ensuring that resources are ultimately utilised most effectively. 

If you’d like to speak to an expert about reviewing your cloud strategy, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our friendly vshosting experts. 

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